Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Swimming in the Ocean isn't Just a Walk in the Park!

I’ve been swimming since I was a small child.  I swam competively in high school.  I’ve swum more laps in various pools than I count.  Sighting along the black line at the bottom of the pool, flipping off the walls. I am comfortable in the water, I always have been.  It is rote muscle memory for me to swim a few thousand yards. I’ve written papers, blog posts, and even had arguments in my head while automatically gliding through the water.  However, these days, I typically just count the laps and relish in the fact that it is one of the few times in my overly connected life that I am completely unreachable.

Suffice it to say that when I decided to do my first tri last year, the 500 yd swim didn’t even give me pause.  I had no concern over that part of the race.  I hadn’t been on a bike in 10 years, and I hadn’t run over 2 miles in about 5.  So, I had other things to focus on. Sure I swam during my training, but it was the easy part.

Then along came race day….

The swim was horrible!  I was completely unprepared for open water swimming.  I had no idea how to sight in the open water.  People kicked me, clawed at me, and I couldn’t see my hands in the water.  Afterwards, I didn’t get back in the pool for 5 months.  I felt anxiety about swimming for the first time ever.

So, when I started training for my upcoming race, I had a mind block against the swim, but I knew I had to get in the ocean and prepare.  I’ve worked my way up to it by doing open water swims in LongBeach Bay and Lake Arrowhead, but that isn’t an ocean.

So, last Saturday, found me sitting on the sand at Zuma Beach in Malibu waiting for an ocean swim training class…

It was good, being with others who have similar issues.  We practiced entry and exit from the ocean.  We practiced swimming while sighting.  We swam only about 500 yards or so in total, but it was enough. 

Afterwards, I went for a 50 or so mile ride along PCH with some colleagues from work.  It was a beautiful day to ride PCH.

I’ll be back this Saturday, and am practicing the swimming with a head up stroke every 10 strokes in the pool.  I’m going to rock this thing!

I’m doing this to support Pediatric Cancer Research at my hospital.

If you want to support me, follow the link here!

Thanks, all!

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